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Heirloom Tomatoes

You may have been hearing about “heirloom” tomatoes lately and have wondered what all the fuss is about. We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you heirloom tomatoes mean Fun and Great Taste! Plus, when you grow them at home, you know what you’re getting.

The tomatoes in the grocery store are red because of a genetic mutation, which also affects the flavor. Most of these mutated tomatoes are grown because they are uniform sized and they ship well. Sometimes they are shipped a long distance and are picked before they are ripe. Obviously this will influence the taste. You may remember eating a sun warmed tomato right off the vine as a child…and that isn’t what you taste from the store.

“Heirloom” may not quite be accurate but it conveys a certain sense of the “old days.” When you grow these tomatoes, you’re not only are growing your own food, but you will harvest it when it’s ripe and perfectly textured with lip-smacking taste.

You will also have a very colorful veggie patch! We offer twenty different heirloom tomatoes, ranging in color, size and yield.

Growing Your Heirloom Tomato

All tomatoes have similar growing requirements: full sun and well-draining, slightly acid, fertile soil. Deep and regular watering reduces the chances of the fruit cracking.

Prior to planting, loosen the soil 8-12 inches deep to allow roots to spread. Add organic matter such as leaves or compost to improve drainage conditions. Add the appropriate amendments if the pH requires adjustment.

To plant individual tomato plants, dig a hole 6 inches deeper than the plant’s root ball. Add the recommended fertilizer or manure slightly mixed with surrounding soil. Plant the tomato plant DEEPER than the root ball making sure the roots do not come into contact with the fertilizer level. Putting the tomato stem several inches into the hole will allow roots to form on the stem creating additional stability. (Generally, this is not the accepted planting process.)

After planting, your tomatoes will start to grow. “Determinate” varieties will grow into a 4’ tall bush. “Indeterminate” varieties can become huge, often exceeding 8’. In both cases, it is important to keep the plant and fruits off the ground. This helps prevent rot and bugs from ground contact and will improve airflow to reduce fungal issues. Determinate tomatoes can be contained with cages or stakes. Indeterminate will require a taller and sturdier support system such as a series of stakes or trellis. If you are unsure how you want to do this, just ask when purchasing your tomato plant.

Harvesting is the reward of growing tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes taste so good; they may not make it into the kitchen. Enjoy!

Please note: We no longer carry Tomatoes from Love Apple Farms.

Western Garden Nursery

2756 Vineyard Ave.
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: 925-462-1760

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Store Hours

Monday – Saturday
9:00am – 5:30pm
10:00am – 4:30pm

Closed Thursday, July 4